Since moving into my neighborhood around six years ago, my life has changed drastically. I moved here with one child (and one in the oven), and now have three. My husband and I have both replaced our cars. I have gone from being a working mom to a stay at home mom, to a freelance writing work at home mom. I have strengthened some relationships, found distance in others, and even created several new ones.
One of these life changes has come in the form of my neighbors. Some of them, like the Ruesings next door, are now like family. Vera cuts the hair of my husband and sons, and even mine on occasion. She also does the occasional eyebrow wax and color fix for me. Joe, her son, helps me out with my web page difficulties and hooks me up with all the latest movies. We watch out for one another, and both have become true friends to us.
The neighbor on the other side of Vera, Sharon, introduced herself to me several months ago. She and I talked easily right off the bat. I learned that she used to drive my son’s bus, and that she shares many of the same views I do about the neighborhood as a whole.
This year, my oldest son started middle school, and they moved his bus stop from right across the street to a block away, which makes things very difficult for us as a family. I called the transportation company and was blown off. The neighbors all told me that there had always been a bus stop there, for more than 30 years. I didn’t know what to do.
I mentioned this situation to Sharon, and she was kind enough to contact the bus company on our behalf. After a bit of drama (which I will discuss on another day), I’m happy to report that the bus stop has returned to its rightful place, much to the chagrin of my son–who feels that I am “WAY TOO OVERPROTECTIVE!!”
Silly boy. If only he knew that I’d follow him to school every day if I could, watching through the windows. Just kidding…mostly. But I do know that even though he is eleven and thinks he’s grown up, it’s my responsibility to understand that he still needs to be parented and protected.
Ah, I digress. Back to the neighbors.
A family who lived down the street until two years ago recently came to visit us. It was amazing to see how much the kids had grown and to hear all about their new digs, but another realization came over me as we visited. These people too, were like family to me. Wonderful world, eh?
And one of my dearest friends, Lori, was originally my neighbor. She lived across the street, and I met her while I was pregnant with my middle child. (Who, by the way, happens to share a name with her son–quite coincidentally believe it or not.) We were friends almost instantly, and are still close today.
Over the years, I have learned that family doesn’t always have anything to do with biology. Instead, I’ve realized, your family includes people who are in your heart, in your life, in your world. Families take care of one another, watch out for one another, check in with one another. Families are tight. And I, my friends, am blessed not only by my nuclear family, but also by my extended family–all of them.
Believe me when I tell you this: the older I get, the more blessed I am by an ever-expanding family, full of both those related by blood and those related by spirit.
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.